Nothing brings out the worst in a Christian like a troll on social media. There are three easy ways to deal with social media trolls though.
In the words of Inigo Montoya, from The Princess Bride, “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” The media (including people on social media) seem to love spewing hatred in the name of tolerance.
Communicating and loving each other despite our differences? Refusing to be verbally abusive despite how strongly we feel about something? That is tolerance, Sister.
Am I the only person who sees the hypocrisy when people proclaim they are tolerant only to throw verbal punches at the people who don’t agree? Oh, the irony.
“Why can’t we all just get along?” -Rodney King
And people sure love to throw Jesus under the bus when it comes to social and political activism. Can I tell you something though? Jesus is not a Republican. (He’s not a Democrat either. Or Libertarian. You get the point.)
If you spend time reading the red letters of the Bible, you will see that Jesus did not bother himself with politics. He always turned back to God’s word.
Social media trolls and tolerance (or lack thereof)
Our culture has turned to black and white and tout an attitude of if-you-aren’t-with-us-you-are-against-us (and oh-by-the-way-you-are-wrong and you-are-such-a-bigot). Facebook has become more like VentBook and I have no shame in telling you that I have hidden a number of people from my feed because of it.
Sure, they are protected by the first amendment but that doesn’t mean that I have to sit around and listen. Does that make me closed-minded? Absolutely not!
What that makes me is a woman who chooses not to be verbally battered by someone who has no interest in engaging in a constructive dialogue. (By the way, dialogue actually means, “a discussion between two or more people or groups, especially one directed towards exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem.” Thank you, Oxford Dictionary!)
Tolerance today seems like a contradiction in itself. It’s an acceptance of all beliefs…except for those who believe in Absolute Truth.
the attitude you should have with trolls on social media
Abraham Lincoln is credited with asking, “Do I not defeat my enemy by making him a friend?”
And Jesus said it in Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you.”
Jesus hung out with the dredges of society – people whom the Pharisees wouldn’t have given a second thought to except for judgment and criticism. The Pharisees repeatedly set Jesus up and even had him captured – all with the masses calling for him to be crucified.
And even on the cross, with the nails anchoring him up, he said, “Father forgive them.”
So how should you respond?
3 Easy Ways to Show Tolerance on Social media
1. point them back to jesus
Topics that get people’s blood boiling year after year are abortion, homosexuality and the like. God’s view on these things are quite clear.
But our job is to point them back to Jesus by loving them.
Sure, we have a duty to point things out but Jesus told us to “take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5 (HCSB)
And gave specific instructions for when a fellow Christian sins.
Let’s make sure when we are pointing people to Jesus we aren’t just shouting, “Girl, you need Jesus.”
The fact of the matter is… We all need Jesus. Even us – the ones who already call him “Savior.”
2. Know How to Apply the Greatest Commandment
When Sweet Firefly is mean to her little sister, I ask her about the two greatest commandments. And then ask if she is living that out.
As a follower of Jesus, we are not called to defend our politics. Jesus himself didn’t do that. We are called to stay true to the greatest commandment. These two commandments set up one of the best questions we can ask ourselves when dealing with people.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37 – 39
And if all else fails…
3. Hide People from your Social Media Newsfeed
If you have people on your social media feed who are using their beliefs to abuse others, you need to get rid of them. By this point, you’ve tried to point them to Jesus and love them as Christ called us to.
They are only interested in venting. And people venting are only interested in letting off steam, not getting life breathed in.
This is the way I look at it. If I were face-to-face with the people who are using political and social activism as an excuse for verbally battering me, would I just stand by and listen to the hatred? Would I continue to come back to them over and over again? Absolutely not!
I allow only a select few people have the kind of influence to address my personal flaws. And truth be told, I rarely interact with them on social media. I have their phone numbers and – call me “old-fashioned” – but I actually prefer to chat on the phone or meet for tacos and margs.
So, why would I allow it on my social media account? All in the name of the First Amendment? Nope.
I don’t need to un-friend them. I just limit the amount of interaction and influence they have in my life.
Ultimately, when it comes down to dealing with “tolerance” on social media, let Jesus be the one to tell them “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11 (NIV)
Let us be known more by Who we love than what we hate.